Princess Diana and the Magic Light Beam
by Aubrey and Eliana Ortiz
Trafford Publishing

"As she ran away, the old lady shouted, 'Remember it's what's on the inside that's important!'"

In the classic tradition of fairy tales that ponder the everlasting question of "Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?", authors Aubrey and Eliana Ortiz present a charming little story, that offers a gentle lesson about the consequences of vanity and the value of inner beauty. Here Princess Diana views herself as the most beautiful girl in the world, but when jealousy surfaces, it sets her on a path toward finding ultimate beauty. Along the way, she experiences a major transformation. Subsequent encounters, and wise words from a purple butterfly, will ultimately force her to realize that external beauty only truly radiates as a reflection of inner kindness.

What makes this book extra special, is the fact that it is the result of a heartfelt collaboration between two siblings, 8-year-old Eliana who is Autistic and her 27-year-old nurturing sister, Aubrey. As a spectrum disorder, Autism is often characterized by difficult social interaction, communication problems, and repetitive behaviors. For Eliana, it seems clear that writing and drawing are used as a creative form of expression. While Aubrey helps organize her sister's thoughts and provides grammatical adjustments to her text, Eliana alone designs the fantastical illustrations that accompany the story. While the artwork may lack the depth and perspective of a more advanced illustrator, this young artist's drawings exude a solid presence. There is a strong connection to color, as Eliana's selections are clear and vibrant. From smiling faces, to a tiny tear, or plaited hairdo, readers will also sense her sharp attention to detail.

While storybooks can often provide valuable learning opportunities for children, here the effort seems twofold. Not only are readers entertained with a tale that reveals the depths of true beauty, but this work also demonstrates how self-determination, imagination, and positive reinforcement can go a long way, in helping individuals move beyond prescribed limitations of development.

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